Sonoma Vineyard Elopement : Joan + Terrance

After 10 years these lovebirds decided to tie the knot. They hopped on a place to Sonoma in honor of Joan’s father who had passed away. He used to live nearby this venue and they married on his birthday – February 3rd.

They said their I do’s, cut some cake and strolled around the vineyard for photos before meeting back up with some family for dinner. The perfect elopement day!

Be sure to scroll down for some Q&A from the couple.

Event Planner and Photography: Run Away With Me

Venue: Chateau St. Jean

Officiant: Jimmy Donaghy

Flowers: Dragonfly FloralĀ 

Cake: Mapi’s Cakes

Beauty: Jessica Ambrose, Beauty and Barber Lounge

How did you meet?

We met at a neighborhood reggae bar 10 years ago. Although neither of us were looking for a relationship, we had an instant connection and the rest is history!

How did you decide to elope?

After being together for 10 years, our love growing stronger each year, we decided to make it official! We chose to elope to have an experience just for us and all about us! We were thinking private, intimate, and personal. We share a love of travel and new experiences so we decided on a destination wedding and did not want others to worry about the travel. Promises and vows are something we see as private and sacred.

How did you decide on the location?

We chose a day and location special to us. We both live in Chicago however I (the bride) am from San Francisco. My father, who has passed, had lived in Sonoma just a few miles from this winery and we chose the date of his birthday and this location to honor his memory. We connected with Kalika and the Reverend (from Run Away with Me) over the phone across 1000’s of miles yet it was like they read our mind as they took our thoughts and made them a reality. It was the best day ever!

What was your favorite part of the wedding day and why?

Our whole wedding day was special and magical. We flew into town the afternoon prior. Our wedding day started with a drive to the courthouse for our marriage license. After that, we met up with family for breakfast. Then, we went back to our fabulous room at the MacArthur and sipped champagne. The stylist arrived and it was fun and indulgent to allow her to spoil and pamper me. Upon arrival at Chateau St Jean, we had time to get dressed and meet and spend some time with the photographer, the wedding planner, and the Reverend. Then it was time for the ceremony. I felt like a princess and Terrence was my prince. It was like a fairy tale and I am forever grateful for all the pictures to remind me of ALL the special moments! After we said our vows and we were pronounced husband and wife, it was great fun eating cake, drinking champagne, and walking throughout the winery for photos. Even after that, the fun did not end. We had some wine and a charcuterie tray when we noticed that neither of us could stop smiling. From there, we headed back to the MacArthur Place where all of my family met back up with us and we celebrated our union over a great dinner.

Did you tell anyone ahead of time or truly elope? How did you break the news and/or incorporate friends or family into the day?

Terrence surprised me with a proposal on December 21st when my brother was visiting from California. Once we decided on the date, we did tell our close friends and relatives. We wanted to make sure my immediate family knew so we would have a chance to celebrate with them while we were in Sonoma. On the day of, my family and best friend were able to do some wine tasting while observing the ceremony from afar. That was perfect because we were able to have privacy for our vows yet my family was able to view the beauty of the ceremony.
Upon return to Chicago, we planned a big celebration for all local family and friends one month later in March. It was great because no one had to travel yet we had all the pictures to share with them.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their elopements?

By eloping, you have no worries of any one else so it is stress free. Enjoy the moment! Cherish all of the moments. You deserve to spoil yourself as you celebrate your love.